When “No, God” Becomes “No God”

In what may have been the best writing I read all year, Ann Voskamp writes:

No, God.
No God.

Is this the toxic air of the world, this atmosphere we inhale, burning into our lungs, this No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing.

-One Thousand Gifts

Those first two lines have bounced around in my mind and in my spirit from the time I first read them. I have thought an awful lot about how often we say, “No, God.” I have thought of the times, specifically, that I have said, “No, God.”

Photo by fotogail

Or maybe I didn’t say “No.” I just didn’t listen. I didn’t obey when I knew exactly what it was that God was wanting me to do. I felt His leading. I walked past a way of escape. I made excuses for my “No, God” but that is exactly what I was saying to Him, “No.”

We are all guilty. We have all done it at one time or another.

“No, God. That’s not what I had in mind.”

“No, God. I like my way better.”

“No, God. I really don’t think that is necessary.”

“No, God. What would people say?”

And eventually we become used to the wounds of our poor decisions and wrong desires. The skin grows thick and the calluses form hard. And if we aren’t careful our, “No, God” becomes a “No God.”

Isn’t it amazing how one simple comma takes us from a conversation, refusing to obey God and accept what He offers, to denying His very existence!

Say “Yes” today!

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One Generation From Extinction

Former President Ronald Reagan on Freedom:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

There is quite a bit packed into those three sentences!  Each generation enjoys the fruits of the generation preceding them, yet each generation must determine the value of that fruit and the cost of its seed if it is to last.  This is not just true of freedom, it is also true of the Truth.

Photo by psychbird

Just like freedom, Truth is always one generation from extinction!  (Caveat: Truth will prevail and God will always have a Church, I am applying this to a particular group whether that be church, family, etc.) 

There were 10 generation from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5).  However, there was only 1 living generation separating the two!  Noah’s father, Lamech, would have been 58 when Adam died.  It is very likely that Noah’s father spent time with the man who walked in the garden with God.  Afterall, Adam was his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.  Yet one (living) generation later, Noah is the only man found righteous in God’s eyes!

Judges 2:7,10  “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel… and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

This is another startling example!  The generation of elders had witnessed all the miracles.  They were there when God made passage through the Jordan River.  They were there when the Jericho walls came crashing down.  They were there when Joshua prayed and the sun stood still.  But the generation after them did not personally know of these great miracles, let alone the God who did them.

We must diligently pass this Truth on to the next generation! (Deut. 6)

The Danger of Mining Foundations

This month’s issue of Wired Magazine includes an interesting article about a little town in Oklahoma called Picher.  The article is titled Welcome to Armageddon, USAIt tells the incredible story of a once thriving city; a city that died because of its hollow foundation.

“Picher sprang up as a 20th-century boomtown – the “buckle” of the mining belt that ran through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  The earth underneath it produced most of the lead for US bullets in World Wars I and II.  The population peaked at 14,000 in 1926.  But when the lode ran dry in 1970, the mining companies moved out. 

Downtown Picher, OK by Sooner4Life

One-third of all houses in Picher are undermined by massive voids.  Sinkholes are a major problem; the city is literally swallowing itself.  “The water pumps were shut off when the mines closed; their subterranean chambers refilled with groundwater and leaked acid into nearby Tar Creek, threatening the town’s drinking water.  Kids started coming home from swimming in ponds near the mines complaining of what they thought were sunburns, never realizing that the pools were full of caustic chemicals.”

The police department has disbanded.  The schools have closed.  The government has dissolved.  Picher is a dead city.  Very few people still live in Picher, and they are considered radicals.  One of these radicals, John Garner, says that he will continue to live in Picher and keep the town alive.  All of this despite the dangerous levels of poison in the air and water and the dangers of looters who come to disrupt the peace.  But even Garner recognizes the biggest problem is that “there is no next generation…looking to carry on the fight.”

As I read this story, I thought of the spiritual implications of mining our foundation.  If we do, we will find ourselves in the same situation as Picher, OK.  We will be full of sinkholes.  People will leave by hundreds and the thousands.  Our children will be poisoned.  And ultimately, we will find ourselves fighting for something that has no chance to live because there will be no next generation looking to carry on the fight.

I Want To Be A Berean

Not much is said in the Word of God about Berea or the people who lived there.  The people of Berea are only mentioned in one chapter of Scripture, Acts 17.  This is all we know about the Bereans:

(1) They were considered noble people because…

(2) They received the Word preached to them by Paul and Silas with a ready mind.  And…

(3) They searched the Scripture daily to see if the message Paul and Silas preached was true to the Word.

I really like what verse 12 of Acts 17 says happened as a result of the Bereans doing these three things; “therefore many of them believed.”

These Bereans were so hungry for Truth!  And they knew that there was only ONE source to which they could turn.  It wasn’t their opinion, it wasn’t (just) tradition, it wasn’t (just) the preacher.  It was the Word of God!

They were considered noble because they received the Word with readiness of mind.  This speaks of the presence of eager interest and the absence of prejudice.  They had a sincere desire to be taught, and to know, the Truth.  When they were taught, they went to the written Word to be sure what they had been taught was true.

It seems to me that the Bereans must have believed in absolute truths, and that these truths are knowable.  A lot of today’s “Christians” would do well to spend some time with the Bereans!

Notice what happens when people get hungry for Truth and search the Scriptures…“Many Believed.”

I want to be a Berean.